The fundamental thesis of scholasticism was that philosophy is the servant of theology. Intelligence certainly cooperated, but it played only a subordinate role. Thus, scholasticism did not succeed in achieving the marriage of the sun and moon, the result of which is the third principle, called the ‘philosopher’s’ stone in alchemy.
The ‘philosopher’s stone of alchemy is described in the Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistus as follows:
The father thereof is the sun, the mother the moon.
The wind carried it in its womb; the earth is the nurse thereof.
It is the father of all works of wonder throughout the whole world.
The power thereof is perfect, if it be cast on to earth.
It will separate the element of earth from that of fire, the subtle from the gross, gently and with great sagacity.
It doth ascend from earth to heaven.
Again it doth descend to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and things inferior.
This means to say that the process of induction (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of deduction (which descends to earth), the process of prayer (which ascends from earth to heaven) and that of reveleation (which descends to earth) – ie human endeavour and the action of grace from above – unite and become a complete circle which contracts and concentrates to become a point where the ascent and descent are simultaneous and coincide. And this point is the ‘philosopher’s stone’ – the principle of the identity of the human and divine, of spirituality.
It is the solution of the problem posed by St Paul, or rather the accomplishment of the task given by him, when he wrote of the Cross being folly to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews, but which “to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (I Corinthians I, 22-24).
Now, the historical and evolutionary mission of Hermeticism is to advance the progress of alchemical work engaged in developing the ‘philsopher’s stone’ or the union of spirituality and intellectuality. It is called to be the crest of the wave of contemporary human effort aspiring to the fusion of the spirituality and intellectuality. This effort and aspiration is larger than the group of Hermeticists, properly said, who are dispersed in the world.
There are probably more people who are not avowed Hermeticists and who are engaged in the endeavour aiming at the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality than there are Hermeticists, properly said. …..The Spirit blows where it will, but the task of the Hermetic tradition is to maintain – without pretension to a monopoly, God forbid! – the ancient idea of the ‘the thelema of the whole world – which ascends from earth to heaven, descends to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and things inferior’. It’s the task is that of guardian of the great spiritual world.
Unknown author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXI, The Fool